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1997 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team

The 1997 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team represented the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the 1997 NCAA Division I-A football season. The team was led by 25th-year head coach Tom Osborne and played their home games in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers competed as members of the Big 12 Conference in the league's second year of existence.

1997 Nebraska Cornhuskers football
Nebraska Cornhuskers logo, 1992–2003.svg
Coaches Poll national champion
Big 12 champion
Big 12 North Division champion
Orange Bowl champion
Orange Bowl, W 42–17 vs. Tennessee
ConferenceBig 12 Conference
DivisionNorth Division
Ranking
CoachesNo. 1
APNo. 2
1997 record13–0 (8–0 Big 12)
Head coachTom Osborne (25th season)
Offensive coordinatorTom Osborne (28th season)
Offensive schemeI formation
Defensive coordinatorCharlie McBride (17th season)
Home stadiumMemorial Stadium
Seasons
← 1996
1998 →
1997 Big 12 football standings
Conf     Overall
Team   W   L         W   L  
Northern Division
No. 2 Nebraska † xy$   8 0         13 0  
No. 8 Kansas State %   7 1         11 1  
No. 23 Missouri   5 3         7 5  
Colorado   3 5         5 6  
Kansas   3 5         5 6  
Iowa State   1 7         1 10  
Southern Division
No. 20 Texas A&M xy   6 2         9 4  
No. 24 Oklahoma State   5 3         8 4  
Texas Tech   5 3         6 5  
Texas   2 6         4 7  
Oklahoma   2 6         4 8  
Baylor   1 7         2 9  
Championship: Nebraska 54, Texas A&M 15
  • † – Coaches Poll National Champion
    $ – Bowl Alliance representative as champion
    % – Bowl Alliance at-large representative
    x – Division champion/co-champions
    y – Championship game participant
Rankings from AP Poll

The Cornhuskers compiled a perfect 13–0 record and claimed their third national championship in four years. Nebraska was ranked first in the final Coaches Poll of the year, but was ranked second behind Michigan (also undefeated, at 12–0) in the final AP Poll. Of the 20 official championship selectors designated by the NCAA, 13 selected Nebraska as national champions, six selected Michigan, and one declared them co-champions.[1] It remains one of the most hotly contested national championship debates in college football history.[2]

Nebraska secured their first Big 12 Conference championship by defeating Texas A&M by a score of 54–15 in the Big 12 Championship Game. Nebraska had been upset by Texas in the inaugural Big 12 Championship Game in 1996. The season ended with a 42–17 victory over No. 3 Tennessee in the 1998 Orange Bowl for their fourth consecutive major bowl victory.

The Nebraska offense, which led the country in scoring, was led by quarterback Scott Frost and running back Ahman Green. Frost became just the tenth player in college football history to both pass and run for 1,000 yards. Green finished second in the country in rushing yards with 1,877 yards, and tied for third in touchdowns with 22.[3] Offensive lineman Aaron Taylor was named a consensus All-American and was the recipient of the Outland Trophy. The Cornhusker defense was anchored by All-American defensive linemen Jason Peter and Grant Wistrom, winner of the Lombardi Award.

Head coach Tom Osborne announced after the regular season that the Orange Bowl would be his final game as head coach. He retired as Nebraska's all-time winningest coach, and was sixth in wins all-time in major college football history at the time of his retirement.[4]

Contents

ScheduleEdit

[5]

DateTimeOpponentRankSiteTVResultAttendance
August 301:00 PMAkron*No. 6W 59–1475,124
September 1312:30 PMCentral Florida*No. 6
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
W 38–2475,327
September 202:30 PMat No. 2 Washington*No. 7ABCW 27–1474,023
October 46:00 PMNo. 17 Kansas StateNo. 3
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
FSNW 56–2675,856
October 116:00 PMat BaylorNo. 3W 49–2138,175
October 1812:30 PMTexas Tech No. 2
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
W 29–075,764
October 256:00 PMat KansasNo. 1FSNW 35–042,000
November 12:30 PMOklahomaNo. 1
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska (Rivalry)
ABCW 69–775,926
November 82:30 PMat MissouriNo. 1ABCW 45–38 OT66,846
November 1511:30 AMIowa StateNo. 3
  • Memorial Stadium
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
FSNW 77–1475,613
November 281:30 PMat ColoradoNo. 2ABCW 27–2452,738
December 63:30 PMvs. No. 14 Texas A&MNo. 2ABCW 54–1564,824
January 27:00 PMvs. No. 3 Tennessee*No. 2CBSW 42–1772,385
  • *Non-conference game
  •  Homecoming
  • Rankings from AP Poll released prior to the game
  • All times are in Central time

Roster and coaching staffEdit

1997 Nebraska Cornhuskers football team roster
Players Coaches
Offense
Pos. # Name Class
FB 38 Dan Alexander Fr
OL Steve Altstadt Fr
OT 70 Eric Anderson Sr
TE 94 Travis Antholz So
WB 82 Sean Applegate So
C 52 Matt Baldwin So
OG 76 Sasho Becvarovski Fr
SE 20 Tom Beveridge Fr
WB 14 Lance Brown Jr
IB 36 Correll Buckhalter Fr
TE 90 Tim Carpenter Sr
SE 6 Kenny Cheatham Jr
QB 9 Monte Christo Jr
OT 68 Jeff Clausen So
FB 42 Josh Cobb Jr
WB Ben Cornelsen Fr
WB Tyler Cotten Fr
QB Eric Crouch Fr
SE 3 Matt Davison Fr
TE 85 T.J. DeBates So
SE Luke Denney Fr
OT 77 Billy Diekmann Fr
SE 2 J.R. Edwards So
IB 4 DeAngelo Evans So
WB 12 Demond Finister So
SE 83 Craig Fischer So
SE Pat Friesen Fr
QB 7 Scott Frost Sr
WB Paul Fujan Fr
OT 74 Lonnie Fulton So
SE 10 Mike Gentile Fr
OG 72 Ben Gessford Jr
WB 27 John Gibson Fr
IB Marcus Giles Fr
FB Nick Gragert Fr
IB 30 Ahman Green Jr
OL Mike Green Fr
SE 80 Billy Haafke Jr
OG 53 Aaron Havlovic So
OT 51 Kyle Henson Jr
C 59 Josh Heskew Jr
OG 55 Russ Hochstein Fr
OG 62 Matt Hoskinson Sr
TE 88 Sheldon Jackson Jr
TE 34 Vershan Jackson Sr
OG 56 Marcus Johnson So
SE Nate Johnson Fr
WB Jordan Jones Fr
OT 69 Adam Julch So
FB 22 Ben Kingston So
TE 87 Chad Kobus So
OL Kyle Kollmorgen Fr
SE 89 Jeff (Robert) Lake Sr
FB 40 Billy Legate Jr
QB 1 Frankie London So
FB 45 Joel Makovicka Jr
TE 41 Jake McKee Fr
FB 32 Willie Miller Fr
TE 81 John Murphy Fr
QB 12 Bobby Newcombe Fr
IB 37 Jason Olnes So
IB 36 Hank Piening Fr
OT 73 Fred Pollack Sr
OT 57 Ryan Preister Fr
C Dominic Raiola Fr
OL Buck Rasmussen Fr
TE 86 Dorrick Roy Jr
QB 16 Jay Runty Fr
OG Jon Rutherford Fr
OG 79 Chris Saalfeld Fr
FB 21 Matt Schoening Fr
OT 65 Jason Schwab So
C 54 Doug Seaman Sr
OG 63 James Sherman So
IB 31 James Sims Sr
IB 25 Travis Soucie Fr
FB 43 Jeremy Stanislav Fr
OT 95 Jim Tansey So
OG 67 Aaron Taylor Sr
OT 71 Mike Van Cleave Sr
WB 26 Casey Vanderhoef Fr
OL Dave Volk Fr
OG 61 Brandt Wade Jr
RB Dan White Fr
WB 33 Sean Wieting Sr
WB 5 Shevin Wiggins Jr
QB 3 Chad Wiles Fr
FB 24 Andy Winkler So
TE Tracey Wistrom Fr
OG 64 Jon Zatechka Sr
Defense
Pos. # Name Class
DT 95 Derek Allen So
DT 89 Luis Almanzar Fr
LCB 28 Josh Anderson Fr
WLB 40 Erick Arens So
WLB 36 Rod Baker Fr
RE 87 Chris Bassett Sr
LCB 24 Jason Benes Sr
DB Mic Boettner Fr
DB Dion Booker Fr
ROV 21 Mike Brown So
RCB 22 Ralph Brown So
MLB 39 Ben Buettenback So
LB Grant Bunton Fr
LB Jamie Burrow Fr
LB Jon Coyne Fr
SLB 54 Chris Deitloff Fr
DB Damian Demps Fr
RCB 2 Leslie Dennis Sr
ROV 17 George Dittrick Fr
DT 58 Brandon Drum Jr
DT 61 Jason Dush Fr
FS 33 Mitch Ebke Fr
FS John Eisenberg So
FS 19 Clint Finley Fr
FS 5 Eric Fischer Fr
MLB 44 Jay Foreman Jr
SLB 34 Russell Froehlich Jr
RCB 18 Jay Gates Sr
DT 77 Bobby Gill So
RE 75 Matt Grummert Fr
RE 9 George Guidry Fr
LB Chris Gustafson Fr
FS 45 Brad Hamik Fr
CB Brandon Harrison Jr
SLB 49 Quint Hogrefe Jr
DB Matt Ickes Fr
WLB 50 Julius Jackson So
WLB 1 Eric Johnson Jr
DT 88 Dave Jones Sr
DT 91 Loran Kaiser Fr
RE 57 Chad Kelsay Jr
WLB 47 Josh Kohl So
RE 82 Curt Lenners Sr
ROV 29 Gregg List So
ROV 6 Kalin Makaiwi Jr
DT 97 Glen Matthews Jr
DT 85 Jason McCullough Jr
WLB 4 Octavious McFarlin Sr
DL Matt McGinn Fr
FS 25 Greg McGraw So
LB Levi Mehl Fr
DT 78 Tom Milius So
RE 93 Brandon Mooberry Fr
SLB 37 Tony Ortiz So
LB Jon Penny Fr
DT 55 Jason Peter Sr
LCB 11 Jerome Peterson So
MLB 13 Carlos Polk Fr
ROV 14 Brandon Quindt Fr
SLB 23 Steve Raymond So
RCB 10 Khari Reynolds Fr
LB Brandon Roth Fr
RE 84 Mike Rucker Jr
RE 80 Eric Ryan So
SLB 46 Brian Shaw So
RE 76 Scott Siebenborn Fr
LB Ryan Svoboda Fr
DB 16 Erwin Swiney Fr
LB Nick Terrio Fr
DT 79 Ross Tessendorf Jr
DB Alik Tillery Fr
RE 92 Travis Toline Jr
DB Arion Turner Fr
MLB 48 Chad Tuttle Fr
MLB 56 Noland Urban Fr
LB Simon Van Boening Fr
RE Kyle Vanden Bosch Fr
LB Mark Vedral Fr
CB 27 Joe Walker Fr
DT 94 Brian Walters Fr
FS 32 Eric Walther Jr
RE 90 Brandon Wardyn Fr
FS 3 Eric Warfield Sr
DT 96 Steve Warren So
ROV 42 Troy Watchorn Fr
LB J.P. (John Paul) Wichmann Fr
RE 81 Aaron Wills So
DT 99 Jason Wiltz Jr
RE 98 Grant Wistrom Sr
DB Wes Woodward Fr
RE 38 Brendan Zahl Sr
Special teams
Pos. # Name Class
PK 35 Kris Brown Jr
PK 12 Dan Hadenfeldt So
P 19 Jesse Kosch Sr
P 23 Bill Lafleur Jr
PK 28 Chace Long Fr
P 8 Brian Morro Jr
PK 13 Ted Retzlaff Sr
P/PK Chuck Tack Fr
Head coach
Coordinators/assistant coaches
  • Charlie McBride
       17th season as DC/LB coach
       21st year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Colorado
  • Turner Gill
       6th season as QB coach
       6th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Nebraska
  • Craig Bohl
       3rd season as LB coach
       6th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Nebraska
  • Ron Brown
       11th season as WR/TE coach
       11th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Brown
  • Dan Young
       15th season as OL/K coach
       15th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Reed
  • Milt Tenopir
       24th season as OL coach
       24th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Sterling
  • Nelson Barnes
       1st season as RE coach
       1st year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: North Texas
  • George Darlington
       DB coach
       25th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Rutgers
  • Frank Solich
       15th season as RB coach
       19th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Nebraska
  • Boyd Epley
       29th season as S&C coach
       29th year at Nebraska
       Alma mater: Nebraska

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • (S) Suspended
  • (I) Ineligible
  •   Injured
  •   Redshirt

Roster
Last update: 2011-01-17

Game summariesEdit

AkronEdit

Akron at Nebraska
1 234Total
Akron 0 077 14
Nebraska 14 24147 59

Central FloridaEdit

Central Florida at Nebraska
1 234Total
Central Florida 7 1007 24
Nebraska 0 14177 38

WashingtonEdit

Nebraska at Washington
1 234Total
Nebraska 14 706 27
Washington 0 770 14

Kansas StateEdit

Kansas State at Nebraska
1 234Total
Kansas State 6 0614 26
Nebraska 10 102115 56

BaylorEdit

Nebraska at Baylor
1 234Total
Nebraska 14 2870 49
Baylor 7 0014 21

Texas TechEdit

Texas Tech at Nebraska
1 234Total
Texas Tech 0 000 0
Nebraska 3 1097 29

KansasEdit

Nebraska at Kansas
1 234Total
Nebraska 7 14014 35
Kansas 0 000 0

OklahomaEdit

Oklahoma at Nebraska
1 234Total
Oklahoma 0 070 7
Nebraska 20 142114 69

MissouriEdit

Nebraska at Missouri
1 234OTTotal
Nebraska 14 77107 45
Missouri 7 17770 38

Iowa StateEdit

Iowa State at Nebraska
1 234Total
Iowa State 7 007 14
Nebraska 35 2877 77

ColoradoEdit

Nebraska at Colorado
1 234Total
Nebraska 3 7170 27
Colorado 0 3714 24

Texas A&MEdit

Texas A&M vs Nebraska
1 234Total
Texas A&M 0 3012 15
Nebraska 16 21314 54

TennesseeEdit

Tennessee vs Nebraska
1 234Total
Tennessee 0 368 17
Nebraska 7 7217 42

StatisticsEdit

  • QB Scott Frost: 88/159 (55.3%) for 1,237 yards (7.80) with 5 TD vs. 4 INT (2.52%). 176 carries for 1,095 yards (6.22) and 19 TD.
  • RB Ahman Green: 278 carries for 1,877 yards (6.75) with 22 TD. 16 catches for 151 yards and 0 TD.
  • FB Joel Makovicka: 105 carries for 685 yards (6.52) and 9 TD.
  • RB Correll Buckhalter: 54 carries for 311 yards (5.76) and 6 TD.
  • WR Lance Brown: 12 catches for 226 yards (18.83) and 0 TD.
  • WR Matt Davison: 10 catches for 219 yards (21.90) and 1 TD.

RankingsEdit

Ranking movements
Legend: ██ Increase in ranking. ██ Decrease in ranking.
NR = Not ranked. RV = Received votes. ( ) = First place votes.
Week
Poll Pre 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Final 
AP 6 6 6 6 7 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 3 3 2 2 2 2 
Coaches 6 6 5 6 3 3 3 2 1 1 1 3 3 2 2 2 1

After the seasonEdit

Nebraska Head Coach Tom Osborne announced his retirement just prior to the 1998 Orange bowl, capping a remarkable career of success. The #2 Cornhuskers handily defeated the #3 Tennessee Volunteers 42-17, while #1 Michigan defeated #7 Washington State team 21-16. In postgame coverage on the field, Nebraska quarterback Scott Frost openly lobbied Coaches Poll voters for support based on performance comparisons between Nebraska and Michigan, also mentioning Osborne's retirement. The voters apparently agreed, as Nebraska was ranked #1 in the final Coaches Poll, while Michigan retained their pre-bowl #1 ranking in the AP Poll, creating a split National Championship. The 1997 Huskers set an NCAA record that still stands by scoring an average of 5.5 rushing touchdowns per game (66 rushing touchdowns in twelve games, not including the six scored in the Orange Bowl).[6]

AwardsEdit

[7]

Award Name(s)
Lombardi Award Grant Wistrom
Outland Trophy Aaron Taylor
Big 12 Male Athlete of the Year Grant Wistrom
All-America 1st team Jason Peter, Aaron Taylor, Grant Wistrom
All-America 2nd team Ahman Green
All-America 3rd team Eric Anderson
All-Big 12 1st team Eric Anderson, Mike Brown, Ralph Brown, Scott Frost, Ahman Green, Jason Peter, Aaron Taylor, Grant Wistrom
All-Big 12 2nd team Jay Foreman
All-Big 12 3rd team Josh Heskew, Chad Kelsay, Eric Warfield, Jon Zatechka
All-Big 12 honorable mention Kris Brown, Jesse Kosch, Joel Makovicka, Fred Pollack, Mike Rucker, Jason Wiltz

NFL and pro playersEdit

The following Nebraska players who participated in the 1997 season later moved on to the next level and joined a professional or semi-pro team as draftees or free agents.[8]

Name Team
Dan Alexander Tennessee Titans
Eric Anderson Amsterdam Admirals
Kris Brown Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Brown Chicago Bears
Ralph Brown New York Giants
Correll Buckhalter Philadelphia Eagles
Eric Crouch St. Louis Rams
Clint Finley Kansas City Chiefs
Jay Foreman Buffalo Bills
Scott Frost New York Jets
Ahman Green Seattle Seahawks
Russ Hochstein Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sheldon Jackson Buffalo Bills
Vershan Jackson Kansas City Chiefs
Eric Johnson Oakland Raiders
Chad Kelsay Pittsburgh Steelers
Bill Lafleur Barcelona Dragons
Joel Makovicka Arizona Cardinals
Bobby Newcombe Montreal Alouettes
Tony Ortiz Scottish Claymores
Jason Peter Carolina Panthers
Carlos Polk San Diego Chargers
Dominic Raiola Detroit Lions
Mike Rucker Carolina Panthers
Erwin Swiney Green Bay Packers
Larry Townsend Berlin Thunder
Kyle Vanden Bosch Arizona Cardinals
Joe Walker Tennessee Titans
Eric Warfield Kansas City Chiefs
Steve Warren Green Bay Packers
Jason Wiltz New York Jets
Grant Wistrom St. Louis Rams
Jon Zatechka Berlin Thunder

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ 2017 NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision Records (PDF). Indianapolis: The National Collegiate Athletic Association. July 2017. p. 115. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  2. ^ Ogden, Tim (July 30, 2009). "1997 The Great Debate". Bleacher Report.
  3. ^ "1997 College Football Year Summary". Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  4. ^ Moran, Malcolm (December 11, 1997). "After 25 seasons, Osborne to retire". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Football - 1997 Schedule/Results". University of Nebraska–Lincoln Athletics Department. Retrieved May 21, 2009.
  6. ^ http://web1.ncaa.org/web_files/stats/football_records/DI/2010/2010FBS.pdf
  7. ^ 1997 Husker Honors
  8. ^ "All Time NFL Huskers". Archived from the original on 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2009-05-21.